Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #117282  by JonnyBoy
 Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:50 pm
Maybe listen to the John Kahn and Jerry run where its a duo acoustic setting. His approach there is almost elementry and straight forward, with exception to his solo playing of coarse...

One thing I noticed is that he is usually put within the mix low on rhythm guitar with the Dead, almost blending in perfectly to the point its hard to hear his actual approach within the song (recordings may vary).

Then you listen to his acoustic solo stuff and practice vids, and you see there is an almost full steam ahead approach to his rhythm playing, unlike Bobby that is so delibrate and articulate with his chords.

I think his volume and the band "noise" has a lot to do with the eventual tone of his rhythm playing, which makes it hard to understand why/how and copy it by ear in our bedroom. We all know he has a thick pick, and rolls his wrist hard within the strum. I wouldn't exactly call it a light touch. We all may be surprised how much we sound alike if he came over and strummed your guitar in your house, then handed it to you to do.

I say, If you can strum the song and sing in time, Its all good!!!!
 #117570  by lunasparks
 Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:05 pm
JB above has it more or less correct, I think. Today I decided to perform a test. I went looking for a good Jerry song where his guitar is low in the mix and there's plenty of his rhythm. Found a Brokedown from 1990. Test was to record myself playing along with the song then compare the guitar track with what it sounds like inserted into the mix, just loud enough to drown out Jerry's already low-in-the-mix guitar.

First link below is to my clean rhythm track (please disregard the slop; this was one run through just for the experiment). Worth noting by the way, that I was playing very loud, enough to get a little movement out of the E120...on the theory that "loud matters." SMS at 10:00, MC250 at noon, guitar volume about 75%: ... i&newref=1

Next link inserts my track into the Brokedown mix. It's still a little louder than it should be, but I wanted to drown out Jerry (except on the solo...definitely the man!). Also the timing may be milliseconds off; I had some problems with the sync. ... i&newref=1

Anyway, some thoughts: I think Jerry played his rig very loud, even when not soloing, to get that signature "Jerry strum." What has been confusing me is how to reconcile being very loud to the ears but still be really dialed down in the mix. Even with my sloppy playing, my rig does sound very Jerry when dropped in the context of the band, IMO :P Funny, banging the shit out of some chords at pretty serious bedroom(+) volume then making the band that much "louder" really makes me feel I'm much closer to capturing that special strum.

Maybe this is all elementary, but it's kind of my obsession to get to the bottom of Jerry's special rhythm/strum. Hope it helps someone else out there sharing similar issues!! I forge ahead.... 8)
 #117782  by Tennessee Jedi
 Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:45 am
lunasparks wrote:
Anyway, some thoughts: I think Jerry played his rig very loud, even when not soloing, to get that signature "Jerry strum." What has been confusing me is how to reconcile being very loud to the ears but still be really dialed down in the mix.
That was pretty cool ..... nice tone and touch
In an interview w/ Jerry I read he said he liked to practice with a loud volume so he could work on his dynamics and his touch.
I def think he used his vol knob too esp behind the vocal parts.
Maybe part of Jerry being loud is just the fact he came from the days before PA technology took off - when your amp was the PA.
IDK but I need a certain amount of vol to play ..... maybe I need a monitor to hear myself better maybe I just need to hear the how the amp is responding ......
The part of Jerry that is so elusive to me is certain parts like a good 80's Scarlet Intro ... very subtle very creative ....
Watching Jerry I feel like his up stroke and its how and when is a big part of his mojo .... the accents ... are hard for me to get ...... but essential to Jerry's sound ....
All part of the journey .... I like how far you are going to test your ideas out !
 #118142  by Poor Peter
 Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:43 am
How high is your action? Jerry played with high action. No doubt this contributed to his strumming technique, and his ability to almost strum as if he was playing acoustic. Someone suggested listening to the Garcia/Kahn acoustic shows. I think that is the best place to start. Get it right on acoustic, and then try it electric.
 #131228  by Griffyote
 Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:26 pm
What a great study in the nuances that differentiate a an exceptional player from an just capable player. Great things to meditate on while not playing and hope it shows up in the sound. 8)
 #131534  by Shipofools
 Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:11 pm
Listen for the sound between the sounds, and the notes between the notes. Or shall I say feel them. That's when you get the jerr sound going. There's only one jerry though.